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Bradley Manning Pleads Guilty To 10 Charges 491

Posted by Soulskill
from the free-information-has-a-steep-price dept.
Entropy98 sends this quote from the LA Times: "Army Pfc. Bradley Edward Manning pleaded guilty Thursday to 10 charges that he illegally acquired and transferred highly classified U.S. government secrets, agreeing to serve [up to] 20 years in prison for causing a worldwide uproar when WikiLeaks published documents describing the inner workings of U.S. military and diplomatic efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the globe. The 25-year-old soldier, however, pleaded not guilty to 12 more serious charges, including espionage for aiding the enemy, meaning that his criminal case will go forward at a general court-martial in June. If convicted at trial, he risks a sentence of life in prison at Ft. Leavenworth, Kan."
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Bradley Manning Pleads Guilty To 10 Charges

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  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @02:31PM (#43037209) Homepage

    "Lethargic"? Try "unconstitutional" or "illegal", per the Sixth Amendment:

    "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial ..."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 28, 2013 @02:35PM (#43037269)

    "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial ..."

    The Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the military's right to maintain different standards of justice for its members than the civilian justice that the wording of the Constituion describes.

  • Re:Aiding the enemy (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 28, 2013 @02:40PM (#43037357)

    He most certainly was aiding the enemy, and I don't see how going to NYT first changes that? Manning indiscriminately leaked an enormous amount of classified materials including details of our military tactics, names of our Iraqi and Afghan allies and spies, classified diplomatic cables revealing our diplomatic strategies.

    Could you please provide conclusive proof that the release of this information did in fact provide any meaningful aid to the enemy? Because even analysts who support the government's case against Manning have said there was little practical fallout from the leak.

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @02:52PM (#43037493) Homepage

    The "different standards" in this case are UCMJ Article 10, which states:
    "When any person subject to this chapter is placed in arrest or confinement prior to trial, immediate steps shall be taken to inform him of the specific wrong of which he is accused and to try him or to dismiss the charges and release him."

    The military justice system actually has a more stringent speedy trial standard than civilian law.

  • by AlphaWolf_HK (692722) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @02:56PM (#43037537)

    I hope you're not making an allusion to the previous slashdot article, because that was debunked by both snopes and factcheck:

    http://www.factcheck.org/2007/12/bush-the-constitution-a-goddamned-piece-of-paper/ [factcheck.org]

    I'm not making any assertions as to the character of any past politicians, rather trying to correct one of those lies that keeps being repeated and believed to be true when in fact it is not. Slashdot itself has not formally corrected itself on that matter either, and still many slashdotters to this day echo that original article on a relatively frequent basis. (Capital Blue, by the way, still hosts that article, with no retraction or update of any kind, which unfortunately, many political blogs link to and even have written big editorials showing outrage over the comment, which in all likelihood was never made.)

  • Re:Aiding the enemy (Score:5, Informative)

    by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Thursday February 28, 2013 @03:08PM (#43037665) Homepage

    Oh, and by the way, a lot of good people and their families got tortured because of that selfish little son of a bitch.

    [Citation needed]

  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @03:11PM (#43037697) Homepage Journal

    It also has things like blacks being 3/5ths of a person

    For the record, the Constitution says no such thing. It does (or did) state that, for voting and taxation purposes, slaves will (would) be counted as 3/5ths of a person, but at no point does the document specify the race of the slaves in question.

  • Get new glasses. (Score:1, Informative)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday February 28, 2013 @03:14PM (#43037755) Homepage Journal

    and read that again.

    It says:
    " immediate steps shall be taken to inform him of the specific wrong of which he is accused and to try him or to dismiss the charges and release him.""
    Immediate notification of charges, or dismiss the charges. it say NOTHING about the speed the person charged is brought to trial.

  • by Stan92057 (737634) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @03:14PM (#43037765)
    Hes being treated according to military law not civilian law. They are 2 very different set of laws, the military being much more strict as it should. Letting people run around with loaded guns and allowed to kill people requires a different standard. I don't feel sorry for him i feel sorry for his family and hes lucky hes hasn't been shot because if this was WW2 he most certainly have been shot.
  • Re:Even though (Score:5, Informative)

    by tiberus (258517) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @03:30PM (#43037951)

    Someone volunteering to join the military (e.g. Pfc. Manning) also agrees to be bound by the UCMJ. It's not hipocracy, it's simple reality. If you want members of the military to have the same rights as civilians, you don't want to have a military or the protections it provides. In order for the military to function, it's members must be held to higher standards and have fewer freedoms; otherwise, the whole thing would just fall apart.

    Pfc. Manning is in a hell of his own creation for not only did he volunteer to join the military of his own free will, he was granted access to sensitive information and that sets the bar even higher.

  • Worse than that (Score:5, Informative)

    by pavon (30274) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @03:33PM (#43037993)

    If you keep reading UCMJ 104:

    Any person who--
            (1) aids, or attempts to aid, the enemy with arms, ammunition, supplies, money, or other things; or
            (2) without proper authority, knowingly harbors or protects or gives intelligence to or communicates or corresponds with or holds any intercourse with the enemy, either directly or indirectly;
    shall suffer death or such other punishment as a court-martial or military commission may direct.

    While I believe he has a strong argument that his actions were not an attempt to aid the enemy, and a pretty good argument that his actions did not significantly aid the enemy in fact, he is going to have a hard time arguing against section 2. He did knowingly and without authorization give intelligence indirectly to the enemy.

    TL;DR: I don't think he actually aided the enemy, but I do think he is in violation of the letter of the law concerning aiding the enemy.

  • by Spy Handler (822350) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @03:35PM (#43038009) Homepage Journal

    Constitution doesn't mention slaves. The 3/5th refers to "all other persons".

    Slavery was a hot potato even back in 1787, so the Framers decided to avoid the topic altogether and ship a product rather than argue endlessly and come up with nothing. Many of the founding fathers were opposed to slavery, but the southern slaveholding states would've never ratified the Constitution if slavery was banned.

    They excluded the word "slave" on purpose. If the clause had read "slaves shall be counted as 3/5th", that would've be an implicit legitimization of slavery. So they basically just kicked the can down the road and the issue didn't get addressed until 1860.

  • Re:Explanation (Score:3, Informative)

    by Em Adespoton (792954) <slashdotonly.1.adespoton@spamgourmet.com> on Thursday February 28, 2013 @03:37PM (#43038033) Homepage Journal

    I think he's already suffered prompt and drastic punishment -- before trial. This, in violation of the UCMJ. He got the prompt punishment, just not the swift trial.

    If found guilty, he will face further punishment. However, there's at least one rule he broke that should be able to get him life in prison: he used military intel for political gain and bypassed the systems already in place for highlighting these issues first to his superiors and then to the government systems in place outside the military set up to watch it. Since the contents weren't really of immediate military value (but were of a sensitive political nature), there could be some leniency, but he left absolutely no trail of CYA or indications that he first attempted to do the right thing through legal and accepted channels (before leaking to US papers; the whole WikiLeaks issue is really overblown, as it's not so much about HIS actions as it is about Wikileaks actually doing something with the data). In short, he took informatin gained in a military setting, while employed by the military, and treated it as if he were still a civilian.

    That's no excuse for the response he got; he SHOULD have had a speedy court martial -- but because he got international politics involved, those same people who are supposed to keep tabs on the military are the ones who he really attacked with his actions.

    Summary: he goofed, has admitted it, and will face the consequences. Meanwhile, those whose failings he exposed are out for blood (or at least shutting him up permanently as an example), and so he gets to suffer through extended incarceration and a trial for more severe charges that may stick, legitimate or not.

    I think that about sums it all up.

  • Re:Chaotic good. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Uberbah (647458) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @03:41PM (#43038093)

    There was no wrong, there where no lies, and , as it turns out, the US was being totally honest about their activities.

    Are you snarking, trolling, or willfully ignorant? [bradleymanning.org]

    U.S. officials were told to cover up evidence of child abuse by contractors in Afghanistan.

    Guantanamo prison has held mostly innocent people and low-level operatives.

    U.S. Military officials withheld information about the indiscriminate killing of Reuters journalists and innocent Iraqi civilians.

    Known Egyptian torturers received training from the FBI in Quantico, Virginia.

    The State Department authorized the theft of the UN Secretary General's DNA.

  • by PraiseBob (1923958) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @03:42PM (#43038101)
    I imagine he's probably being confined in a less "permanent" location right now, which will probably be moderately more comfortable

    So I guess you haven't heard about the human rights complaints about the conditions he is being held in? Probably haven't heard that he testified about being stripped naked every night, had his eyeglasses taken away, held in a cold room and wasn't allowed to have sheets or blankets on the bed. He isn't allowed to talk to anybody, isn't allowed to exercise, has to request toilet paper and soap on a per use basis which is sometimes granted and sometimes not.

    The United Nations special rapporteur on torture (the top anti-torture official in the world) accused the United States of torture, cruelty, inhumane and degrading treatment specifically in this case. So, I'd say that no, he isn't very comfortable where he is...
  • by AlphaWolf_HK (692722) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @03:59PM (#43038295)

    Well ask yourself honestly, what president hasn't shat on the constitution at some point? They all have.

    Even the ones people tend to look up to the most. Take Lincoln, who suspended habeus corpus, or FDR, who did oh so many things that in any other time would never fly. Come to think of it, the worst offenders were all wartime presidents. Ironically those ones are often the ones that are the most hated until long after the fact.

    I'm guessing here that you voted for Obama? Actions that speak louder than words...Where should I begin with him. Drone strikes on US citizens? Shitting on the second amendment? I have no love lost for the former (I think he had it coming,) but am rather displeased with the later. However I think many on slashdot, given its stance on overzealous protection of IP, should be rather upset that Obama ratified the ACTA treaty without even letting the senate so much as have a glance at it - that is a very blatant violation of the constitution which not only requires that they see it, but that they actually vote on it as well, and it pushes heavily in favor of the Hollywood unions that supported him. Also most overlooked are that he gave government loan guarantees to various firms that lobbied heavily (including funding) for his election, and nearly all of them defaulted on those loans shortly after they received them - a very shady thing if you ask me, even if these companies didn't default. The later two are both akin to taking a bribe, only in campaign contributions rather than money.

    I'm trying to see how that is any less of a crime than anything his predecessor did, which if you keep tabs on these "news" sites that commonly repeat this lie, they to this date are rather silent on what their guy does. That isn't to say that anything that any previous presidents have done is acceptable, but one thing I hate about American politics is that too often people will be a cheerleader for their guy and overlook his transgressions, while pointing fingers at everybody else.

    I've said it on slashdot before that lobbyists aren't the problem - they can't vote after all. The problem is people voting for somebody without even bothering to examine their character - rather they just look at the letter next to their name, or vote for whoever their friends told them to vote for. It's really no different from the rivalry you see between sports fans of opposing teams. Much in the same, it's rather disturbing the way politicians kick the ball around like a hot potato (e.g. the debt ceiling) and while the news makes sensational articles about it, most people aren't really interested in electing anybody who has a real plan to do anything about it - again they just want to support their team.

  • Re:Get new glasses. (Score:5, Informative)

    by BasilBrush (643681) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @04:05PM (#43038365)

    Is English not your first language? You do realise "to try him" means to bring him to trial. And that the "immediate steps" part also relates to that.

  • by MouseR (3264) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @04:41PM (#43038819) Homepage

    Have fun: http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ [iraqbodycount.org]

  • Military here (Score:5, Informative)

    by Firethorn (177587) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @06:04PM (#43039781) Homepage Journal

    I'm a Technical Sergeant(E-6) in the USAF. I'm a 'non-commissioned officer', or NCO. I did not accept a commission, I enlisted. At a very vague level, commissioned officers are all approved/commissioned by congress(it's a massive list buried somewhere). My rank is not dependent upon that.

    Article 133 is completely irrelevant to me. My boss, a 1st Lt. (O-2), can be court-martialed under that clause, I cannot be. Articles 92&134 are generally the catchall of choice for enlisted personnel.

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